One of the ways that I like to stretch my most able students is by offering them the opportunity to enter nationwide geography competitions. The benefits of this are threefold: students get the chance to challenge themselves and expand their geographical knowledge; the profile of the geography department is raised; and older students gain valuable material to add to university or college applications.
- Young Geographer of the Year – Royal Geographical Society
A competition that my students enter annually is Young Geographer of the Year, run by the Royal Geographical Society. There are different competitions for each Key Stage (from 2-5). This year, students create an A3 poster or write an essay on the theme of ‘What is the geography of your favourite place?’ Students need to explore their favourite place and consider how it is being shaped by local, national and global process.
Closing date: 13 October 2017
- Photo, blog and video competition – Discover the World Education
Discover the World Education is trying to get students inspired and creative about the geography that they can encounter in the real world. Entrants are asked to produce either a video diary or photographs of their experience, and students can even enter on Instagram! Unfortunately, though, the competition is only open to those students who have travelled with them.
Closing date: 4 January 2018
- Physical Geography Photo Competition – the Physical Geography Special Interest Group, The Geographical Association
If your students can submit a photo of a physical landscape with 250 words that describes and interprets the physical geography behind its creation, then this photo competition is for them. This competition has two age categories (KS3 and KS4-5) and there are excellent prizes of Páramo clothing and atlases!
Closing date: 17 September 2017
- Land Economy Essay Competition – Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
Essay competitions run by universities are the perfect way to challenge your A Level geographers, as well as make their UCAS applications stand out. Look out for the 2018 competitions, such as the Land Economy Essay run by Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, which has strong geographical themes. Also, fingers crossed that the Geography Essay Prize is being run by Trinity College this year, too.
And finally, if you want to have a go yourself, take a look at the Rex Walford Award run by the GA in conjunction with the Young Geographer of the Year award.
There are plenty of competitions for your enthusiastic geographers to get their teeth into, whether they like writing essays, creating posters or taking photos. If your students enter any of these, let me know how you get on!
Rebecca Priest is a Geography Teacher at King Edward VI High School for Girls in Birmingham. She is currently studying for a MA in Geography Education at the Institute of Education and presented a session on ISM at the GA’s 2015 Annual Conference.
TSL 2018 International Schools Essay Competition and Debate
My plan to protect and manage our oceans, seas and marine resources
Global essay competition and debate invites schoolchildren to explore practical ways to conserve and sustainably use our oceans, seas and marine resources (SDG 14)
NEW!Primary School Essay Results – Secondary School Essay Results
According to the UN, the world’s oceans – their temperature, chemistry, currents and life – drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are ultimately provided or regulated by the sea. Throughout history, oceans and seas have been vital conduits for trade and transportation. Yet as a result of human activities, over 30% of marine habitats have now been destroyed, ocean chemistry is changing and more than half of all marine species could face extinction by 2100. Careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future.
We are inviting children to share their best ideas for conserving and sustainably using the marine environment. The livelihoods and wellbeing of the world’s population, especially Small Island Developing States, are dependent on this great marine environment. Through UN SDG 14 and newly emerging concepts like the ‘blue economy’, countries are encouraged to protect and sustainably manage the oceans and seas while tapping into their economic potential.
The annual TSL essay competition and debate is aimed at primary students (ages 7-11) and secondary students (ages 11-17), supported by Teacher Champions, parents and schools.
One overall Grand Prize winner (plus Teacher Champion and parent) will win a free trip to the TSL 2018 Debates & Awards in the Seychelles (2-7 July, 2018). In addition, medals will be awarded in each category for the top ten essays and for the best individual and group contributions at the Debates.
All students and Teacher Champions who participate in the essay competition are invited to attend the Debates, regardless of whether their essays are singled out for special recognition as Finalists or Honourable Mentions.
TSL 2018 Debates & Awards Programme (2-7 July, 2018)
Register now to attend the 2018 Schools Debates & Awards (closes 31 May)
Debate Accommodation Options
Veda Fernandes (Jumeirah Primary School, UAE) collected the 2017 Grand Prize at the TSL International Schools Debates & Awards at Oxford University, while Aninthitha Nath (RN Podar School, India) won 1st Prize in the Secondary Schools category. Around 200 children, teachers and parents from 30 countries participated in the 2017 Debates & Awards.
7 September to 17 December 2017 – School/Teachers register to participate as Teacher Champions.
19 December 2017 (midday GMT) – Deadline for submission of essays (and Schools Sustainability Challenge videos).
31 January 2018 – Announcement of essay competition Finalists and Honourable Mention awardees. Primary Schools – Secondary Schools (please note: all students are invited to participate in the Debates, whether or not their essay received Finalist or Honourable Mention recognition)
31 May 2018 – Registration deadline for the Schools Debates & Awards (registration is compulsory in order to attend).
2-7 July 2018 – International Schools Debates, Awards and Visits, Victoria, Seychelles. In addition to the Primary and Secondary School Debates, which will take place on consecutive days, delegates will attend a Children’s Ocean Conference, a CPD Workshop for Teachers, educational Day Trips, and and a specially planned Cultural Evening. All participants other than the Grand Prize Winner are responsible for making their own travel arrangements (e.g. flights, transfers, accommodation, subsistence and miscellaneous costs). Debates & Awards Programme – Accommodation Options
Each student is invited to submit one essay in English, entitled:
Primary students (ages 7-11): ‘My plan to protect and manage our oceans, seas and marine resources’ (max. 400 words)
Secondary students (ages 11-17): ‘My plan to protect and manage our oceans, seas and marine resources’ (max. 600 words)
The top prize winning essays from our 2017 essay competition on climate action were sent to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
An international judging panel, drawn from experts and educationalists in the field, will select the winning entries for each age category. The essays will be judged for originality and creative thinking and the potential to contribute to a broad-ranging and constructive international debate. The winning essays will be published on the competition website.
For each category, schools are invited to submit up to 30 essays online. (These must be submitted by the Teacher Champion, using the login details provided at registration. We regret that paper and emailed copies cannot be accepted, and essays more than 10% over the word limit will be automatically rejected.)
The 2018 Debate themes are:
Primary students (ages 7-11): ‘We can save the world’s oceans, seas and marine resources by 2030’
Secondary students (ages 11-17): ‘This house believes that the targets of UN SDG 14 are achievable’
UN SDG 14 challenges all nations to play their part in the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources. This is a crucial goal with a list of targets not previously considered in the Millennium Development Goals. Most of these targets require a lot of commitment from each country and the collective involvement of stakeholders at different levels of society. On one hand, the targets may appear to be ambitious and require more time to be implemented, and on the other, they may appear to be realistic and achievable within the set time-frame.
Resources for Schools
To assist teachers and students in preparing for the competition and debate, links to supporting online Teacher Resources are provided here as a starting point for their enquiries.
(To access supporting resources on themes from previous years, use the menu bar at the upper left hand side of this page.)
TSL 2018 Schools Sustainability Challenge
In addition to the essay competition, the Trust for Sustainable Living runs a parallel international contest called the Schools Sustainability Challenge. Teacher Champions are invited to submit short videos showcasing their schools’ best sustainability projects. Schools are welcome to participate in both contests. The Challenge winners will be announced at the 2018 Debates & Awards in the Seychelles.
Enquiries & Updates
Subscribe to our newsletter (using the form in the sidebar), to receive periodic updates and announcements about the competition.
Email queries should be directed to: schools[AT]livingrainforest[DOT]org
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